When you're sick and don't have the security of a home to call your own, your health usually falls second to more immediate and pressing needs such as where your next meal is coming from, where you'll seek shelter during the next storm and surviving life on the streets in general. For these reasons, housing as the cornerstone of improved health is the foundation of CSH’s Social Innovation Fund (SIF) initiative to provide housing to high-cost utilizers of healthcare, and the SIF project in Connecticut is reaching an exciting milestone.
Connecticut is on track to successfully fulfill all 150 rental assistance housing vouchers dedicated to SIF. To-date 125 tenants are already in their own apartments and clients have been identified to fulfill the balance. To what can we attribute the success of this milestone? Teamwork.
Patient navigators, case managers, and system coordinators from the four sites have been working tirelessly in a coordinated team effort to outreach, enroll, and house medically fragile individuals in seven communities across the state. The State of Connecticut has been a key partner in this effort, allocating the housing vouchers to the initiative. 125 tenants have already moved into their own apartments, and clients have now been identified for all 150 slots.
SIF patient navigators support clients in making better connections with medical and behavioral healthcare, and in overcoming all kinds of barriers to improved health. At a recent gathering, one tenant talked about learning yoga and meditation techniques. Another talked about his enjoyment of preparing meals in his own kitchen. A third tenant described his joy and relief at having hot water for shaving, after years of sleeping outdoors.
Potential SIF clients in Connecticut, identified by CSH’s innovative data match, are individuals who have stayed in homeless shelters who have also aggregated very high Medicaid costs. Most have multiple medical and behavioral health conditions, and few social supports. Dedicated and creative SIF program staff at Journey Home in Hartford, the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, Columbus House (in New Haven, and also serving a small number of SIF clients in Waterbury), and Supportive Housing Works (in Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk) have developed robust partnerships and collaborations with medical and behavioral providers, shelters and outreach teams, supportive housing providers, and other community stakeholders. These collaborations have not only enhanced the coordination of care for clients with complex health issues, but also enriched the community-wide infrastructure for serving the needs of high-acuity individuals in each area.
CSH is looking forward to continued development and spreading of these valuable collaborations – and to 150 tenants resting peacefully in their own apartments.